Appreciating Our Differences

Something I like doing on occasion is reading books of people I am not a huge fan of, but I’ve seen glimpses of things I really like about them. The reason I like doing this is because I think writing can humanize people and gives you a little peek into their soul if they choose to be open with their audience. You can learn a lot from people who are different than you are, and I do believe that the large majority of people have good intentions; they just have different ideas of what will make the world a better place. Getting to know someone’s heart, rather than judging them on their political opinions or differing beliefs can open your mind to a whole new beautiful world.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is,

“There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.”

There is so much truth in this. So much.

My most recent example is Amy Schumer. She has a pretty raunchy sense of humor that I just don’t really find funny. I’ve heard some jokes from her that make me cry I’m laughing so hard, but I can totally do without all the crudeness and language. So, you would think that when Audible suggested I listen to her book I would immediately be turned off and go to the next suggestion, but I was open to giving it a try. After all, this is not the first time I’ve changed my mind about a celebrity after knowing more about them.

amy schumer1.png
Photo Credit: Instagram, @AmySchumer

I’m more than halfway through her book and my idea of her is forever changed. Amy has been through a lot in her life, and her sense of humor is what saw her through a lot of her challenges. She uses it as a defense mechanism, and a way to cope with hardship. Don’t get me wrong, there were pretty decent chunks of the book I wasn’t really into and wanted to fast-forward through. I felt myself cringe and wasn’t interested in hearing some of the details that were divulged, but I know plenty of people laughed out loud at the pictures that she painted for us.

Reading this, though, made me really like Amy Schumer as a person; now I would say that I just don’t like every single one of her jokes. She’s strong, independent, and doesn’t take crap from other people, and she also doesn’t let things get to her as much as I would. She knows her worth and that she can’t please everyone, but is herself anyway. I respect the heck out of that! It also indirectly introduced me to one of her newest movies, I Feel Pretty, which was possibly one of the funniest movies I’ve seen all year. I was rolling at some of the jokes towards the beginning of the film, and I think Schumer captured what it’s like being a woman so, so well. I love how open she is about her insecurities and how she says what every girl thinks at one time or another. She is just so darn relatable, despite being a wealthy celebrity (Side note: I guess I’ve been living under a rock because I was shocked to hear she’s worth over 37 million dollars. What?!).

I Feel Pretty.png
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures, “I Feel Pretty”

I still don’t think I’ll be Amy’s number one fan, but I definitely won’t shy away from her completely. Maybe every once in awhile I’ll check out her Instagram to see if she has any fun content, or even listen to her podcast on Spotify. Amy and I will never be the same — in fact I think we’re polar opposites in almost every regard — but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy her for who she is and learn some important life lessons along the way. I want to have her fearlessness and strength! I want to care less about what other people think about me, and I want to do more of what I love and prioritize myself without feeling guilty about it. I think those were valuable enough lessons in themselves to make The Girl with The Lower Back Tattoo worth the read for me, and I was glad I chose it as my “book of the month” for February.


 …Thoughts? What are some books that you’ve read that have shaped you? Who has changed your mind about them by just sitting down and getting to know them more? I am making it a goal of mine to keep learning more about people who think differently than I do because I think this is an amazing opportunity for me to grow as a person. I’d love more suggestions on books to read and podcasts to follow this month!

Girl, Wash Your Face Review

One of my resolutions this year is to read one book a month. It isn’t a lot, but it’s realistic, so any extra reads will be a great bonus. For January, I chose Girl, Wash Your Face. It was interesting timing because I recently saw a Facebook post in a group going around talking about how Rachel Hollis’ book, GWYF, was close-minded and uptight. I hadn’t read it at the time I saw the argument going on, but I was surprised that so many girls from this group of typically very accepting people had such hard feelings toward the author of GWYF, so I became increasingly curious as to what fired people up about this bestselling author.

My best friend Audrey gave me the audiobook for my birthday last month, and I’ve finally listened to more than half of it. I feel compelled to write about it now, though, because while listening I have had several moments where I want to throw my hands up and scream, “YES. THIS IS HOW I FEEL!” It’s such a joy to find novels, blogs, and television shows that just get you. In a world that feels so incredibly big, it’s always comforting to know there are other people who have things in common with you. Whether it’s your beliefs, sense of humor, hobbies, or interests, knowing that you aren’t alone is so important for every human being.

hollis2.png
Instagram: msrachelhollis

I am sick of the old narrative that says just because someone is living their life a different way than the majority, that they are a judgmental bigot. One of the biggest criticisms I saw floating around was that Hollis wasn’t relatable because her ideas about sex weren’t realistic. Spoiler alert: she waited to have sex until she was with her husband. Something that bothers me is that there is no place in the entertainment world for virgins or people who want to save sex for someone special. Hollis is in no way the names girls called her; she is just different than what the norm of the group posts about.

Just because Rachel held her virginity close to her own heart does not mean she is shaming others for having sex with multiple people. I absolutely hate that women can’t talk about this freely without being criticized for being close-minded or a prude. Women in this typically nonjudgmental group began talking about how the author seemed condescending and high-strung. Honestly, I can see how Girl Wash Your Face might not be relatable to everyone, but I didn’t get this vibe at all. There is a reason this book became a bestseller; there are so many women out there who can relate and feel a lot less alone while consuming Hollis’ words. There is a need for women to speak out about virginity and waiting to have sex because they exist too. Instead of continuing the narrative that these women are boring, uptight, and judgmental, we need to move to a safe middle ground of realizing that sexual preferences do not make a person or dictate what their personality is like. Sex is a verb, it isn’t an adjective that describes what a person is like at their core. 

Hollis actually has an entire chapter about sex and I absolutely loved it. I don’t think anyone would actually keep calling her the names they’ve bestowed upon her after reading it, and her views on being intimate are actually really healthy. She talks about the way she views sex, and she isn’t boring or vanilla in the least. She writes about different seasons through her sex life with her husband and the realistic ebb and flow that most people will experience. This is just another opportunity Hollis takes to talk about something that could be difficult for some of her readers, and help them see that they are — in fact — normal human beings.

Women who choose to keep sex as something for a monogamous relationship or for marriage need to feel less alone too. We have moved to a time in society where we know that you’re not a bad person for sleeping with multiple people. We accept being sexually active as a societal norm, and as long as you’re a normal human being you don’t shame other people for their preferences. This should include the young people who are saving themselves for one person, though. There aren’t many positive examples of people like this in the media. You don’t watch a television show and see a badass virgin who has a likable personality and is someone others look up to. Talking about someone being a virgin in the media is typically not done, and if it is, it is portraying a young girl losing her virginity to “become an woman” or honing in on the storyline of a lack of sex for a nerdy character. You don’t see normal twenty-something virgins in movies or on television — in Hollywood, they don’t exist. In the real world, though, they do. They are normal people who just haven’t done the deed yet, and I think we need to do a better job of acknowledging that you aren’t broken if you haven’t had those experiences yet. Sex is a beautiful thing that shouldn’t be taboo to talk about, but it also should never be used to shame someone for their lack of experience either.

Imagine making fun of someone for running — or not. Picture judging their personality solely on being a runner, not based on anything else like how friendly they are, how kind they are, or how smart they are. Running an activity that people often enjoy or never participate in; it doesn’t dictate what they’re like as a person. Sex is the same concept. You don’t suddenly change drastically because you are sexually active; you just have a new activity in your life. Sex is fun, and an incredible way to connect with someone you love, but it isn’t something that will change the core of your being.

hollis1.png
Instagram: msrachelhollis

If you haven’t read GWYF yet, I highly recommend it. It’s a light read and Rachel is an awesome motivational speaker — it feels like she’s just a friend offering advice. I love her little words of wisdom on Instagram, and am obsessed with this quote she attributes to her therapist,

“Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.”

I think we can all learn a little lesson from this on fearlessly being ourselves. Many of our biggest fears stem from what other people think about us. This year I’m trying my best to put my blinders on and share my thoughts without worrying about the opinions of others. I think this is going to be the best way to really connect with people, even though I might also reach some people who just don’t understand my heart. Subscribe to my email list to get some extra premium content this year! I have a lot to say and am excited to be sharing more with you all.

Money Can’t Buy Love

But it sure can show love!

The first Love Language I want to touch on is “gift giving” because although it seems incredibly simple and is arguably the “easiest” of the five, anyone with this as a top LL will tell you otherwise. It’s not at all materialistic or about the amount of money you spend. Gift giving as a love language is never about money; it’s all about the time you put into thinking about your partner for picking out something you know they’ll love.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 6.01.48 PM.png

I would definitely argue that nurture plays a large role in developing your Love Language as an adult. Ever since I was teeny tiny my mom has always loved surprising me with little goodies and treats. When I was a kid I would sometimes crawl into bed at night and feel something fuzzy against my feet. I peeled back the covers to find a little stuffed animal with a note attached, telling me that I was special and incredibly loved.

When I reached high school she still loved me this way and often left little cookies and notes scattered in the kitchen for me to find when I got home from cross country practice. I still have some of those cards to this day, and I have a really hard time throwing away letters because they are one of the most special things to me.

Even at 26 I will sometimes come home to find a little tube of lipstick or another fun cruelty-free beauty item on my bed. It makes my day every time, and the notes always give me a smile and my heart joy, too. Just knowing someone is thinking about you when you are away is a really special feeling.

Since I feel well-versed in gift giving, I wanted to come up with a little list to help people who might not be fluent in this love language yet. Just because one of the LL’s isn’t important to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t to your partner! It’s great taking this quiz and knowing your significant other’s results, as it can be hard to use LL’s that feel foreign to you. Working on speaking your partner’s language, though, can be a really rewarding task. I highly recommend reading the 5 Love Languages book if you haven’t! It teaches how to love on a whole new level.

Ideas for Guys to implement this LL:

  • Flowers. This is the answer to so many of life’s relationship problems. If you get in a fight flowers are great to say you’re sorry, but they’re also amazing for anniversaries, birthdays, sick days, and even “just because.” When gift giving was my top love language I used to always say that someone could go outside and pick me a bouquet of dandelion weeds and I would still find the gesture incredibly sweet. As I said before, it’s not the price sticker on the bouquet that we find so charming, rather it’s the sentiment that goes behind the gift that really matters.
  • Bring her favorite dessert home. This is one of the most underrated things, but I’m going to give my mom props in this post for always bringing me a new dark chocolate bar to try. She keeps my “chocolate drawer” (Yes, this is a thing in my household) stocked with my favorite Trader Joe’s 73% dark chocolate, and often brings home little treats from trips to the grocery store or when she goes to the neighboring town that holds the best gluten-free cupcakes around. The chocolate is great, and it always makes my heart so happy that she thinks of me even when I’m not around.
  • As a special treat girls love jewelry, but we know it’s expensive. Robert happens to be the best guy I’ve ever known about picking out beautiful jewelry. I’m always wearing something that he gave me, and it makes me smile and think of him when he’s not around. When we first started dating I wondered if this was Robert’s LL, as he always seemed to have a new little present for me. Two favorite stories come to mind with Robert. First, was a journal he bought and gave to me on our fourth date. It was a really beautiful leather journal — the kind I had always dreamed about getting, but could never justify buying for myself. I wrote in it the entire time he was deployed, and I just recently finished the last page. The second was actually a really goofy gift. I told Robert about someone calling me a mean name on my blog when I first started writing it, so he got me a book called, “Insults And Comebacks: Lines for All Occasions,” and told me to flip through it the next time someone got nasty with me. I’ve never actually used it for that purpose, but it made me laugh and cheered me up — and prepared me for the very few nasty comments I got during the Tom Brady YouTube video going around (Listen, I’m sorry I don’t watch football and had no idea I was “interrupting playoff season — I was just trying to do something nice for someone I love!). I still keep this book on my desk as a reminder that I am loved by the people who truly know my heart, and to write about things that scare me, even if I know everyone won’t be a fan. I’m still working on that.
  • Leave a sweet note on her pillow. This melts any girl’s heart, and whether she goes to sleep before or after you, it’s great to fall asleep with a smile on your face or wake up to a bright “good morning” from a loved one.
Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 6.00.34 PM.png
My dad recently got my mom the most beautiful bouquet of red roses for their 30th anniversary. This made my heart so happy, especially when I heard that he actually went into DC to find the best florist around, and asked for a specially made bouquet.


Ideas for Girls to implement this LL:

Since I feel very familiar with gift giving as one of my love languages, I’m going to use all personal examples. Please feel free to sound off other ideas in the comments! I am always looking for new ways to love, and would appreciate your tips.

  • “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” There is a reason this is such a popular idiom that is thrown around — because it’s so true! I am going to make a massive generalization and say that 95% of men love to eat. Bringing him his favorite dinner, surprising him with a treat, or packing a Snickers or Almond Joy (Yuck! That’s Robert’s favorite and I always feel funny buying it; I wish we were friends when we were younger, as he would have been the best person to trade candy with after a giant Halloween haul… “Here, I’ll trade you all my Almond Joys for your Peanut M&Ms and Junior Mints!”) in his lunch is a fantastically simple way to show him he’s on your mind. Add a note for extra sweetness!
  • Guys are so darn hard to shop for — at least the men in my life are — because they seem to buy the things they want. Pay close attention to what might be old or worn. I gave Robert a gift from Tom Brady and the Patriots on his 30th birthday this year (Oh gosh, I need to tell this story soon! I can’t believe I keep forgetting), but it was so darn hard to figure out what I wanted to buy him this year. I treated him to dinner and gave him a present 4 months late because no matter where I looked, I couldn’t find anything that screamed “Robert” to me. I ended up realizing the answer was right in front of me when he pulled out his worn leather wallet to pay for a toll to Boston. In that moment I smiled widely and decided that I needed to get him a nice new leather wallet. Not only would he think of me because he would see it every day, but he deserved to have nice things that were used as often as a wallet. I think this is hilariously enough one of the proudest presents I have purchased, as it took me such a long time to come up with it.
  • An experience can be a great gift to give a guy who is difficult to shop for. Whether it’s tickets to a football game or concert or an impromptu date night, he’ll be excited that you took the time to come up for a special day just for him. This is a great gift for guys who really value quality time as another love language.
  • Jerseys, event tickets, and video games are all nice presents, but they can be expensive to do on a really regular basis. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, get creative and make little surprises that he’ll love. Whether you go back to my #1 tip about food and decide to bake his favorite food or put together a nice picture frame for his room, you can always get creative with your presents.

For girls and guys:

Let’s mix 2 love languages and add a pinch of “Words of Affirmation” to gift giving. Cards and letters are incredible everyday gifts, as they hold a little piece of someone’s heart inside. I have an enormous box next to my bed that holds some of the most special letters I’ve received from friends, family, and Robert. I call this box my “happy box,” and will sit on the floor and read a handful when I’m feeling lost, sad, or just want to smile a little before bed. Several of the letters have become worn from use, but they are some of my most prized possessions. Each card couldn’t have cost more than $5, but the words painted on the page are what really hold value for me. This is the perfect example of gift giving not being about the money spent, rather the thought put into the gift that really matters.

Lastly, pay attention to the things your significant other loves. This is the easiest way to choose a gift, whether it’s a food or drink or a gift from their favorite store. People who have gift giving as a primary love language don’t care so much about the item you give to them as they do about the thought you put into the present. Instead of spending a lot of money on something just for the heck of it, feel free to choose several small tokens of love to spread out through the month. Giving to your loved ones won’t just make them happy, but I find that giving the perfect present makes my heart even more joyful than receiving things.


This is my first post about The Five Love Languages cheat sheet. Come back tomorrow for tips on using another LL. 🙂

Your Least Important Love Language Is Still A Big Deal

I am currently taking the time to re-read Gary Chapman’s bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages. Whether you are single, in a relationship, married, or divorced I could not recommend this book enough, as it is all about how you can love the important people in your life in a way that is meaningful to them.

love book.png

“Gift giving” has always been one of my primary love languages, as I really enjoy taking the time to give people things that I know will make them happy, and it makes me feel really special when someone picks out something small just for me. Since I started dating Robert, though, I have noticed that “quality time” has become my top love language. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we did a deployment together and I wouldn’t trade time with him for anything.

Physical touch is tied with gift giving at my second greatest love language, and words of affirmation are right after that. Acts of service come in last with a measly 1 point. Instead of focusing on my greatest love languages, though, today I want to focus on my least — acts of service.

I think it’s so important to take this quiz and know what your most important — and least important — love languages are because they help you learn how to love the people around you even better. Something I realized when I took this quiz and saw how low “acts of service” is in my heart is that I don’t necessarily take note of the love in people’s actions when they perform an act of service for me. Having a chronic illness has really made a lot of my friends and family step up to try and make my life easier. Friends come pick me up at my house to go out for dessert (A few even drive over an hour one way to meet up with me on a regular basis!), carry my purse for me when we go out, and my parents drive me to countless doctors appointments with no complaints. These are all ways people are showing me that they love me through their actions.

I always really appreciate when loved ones take time out of their day to do these things for me, and I often feel bad that I can be such a big inconvenience. I haven’t ever thought of this as their way to show love to me, though. In the past I haven’t taken note of these actions as ways to love; I’ve just thought they were people merely being “nice” to me since I have a physical disability. From now on instead of feeling incredibly awkward that I am causing a problem for someone else, I am going to take a moment to realize that this is their way of showing me that they love and care about me.

I encourage you to find out what your most important love language is because you will be able to better articulate to your friends and significant other what makes you feel loved, however I think we should all go a step further and pay closer attention to the ways people give us the love we feel least connected to. Ever since I have decided to be more aware of the ways people give love to me I have actually felt more surrounded by love than I ever have before. Paying close attention to the little things people do for me every day has made me realize that utilizing your least important love language can still make you feel incredibly loved and will sometimes be the way people you care about will choose to love you.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 10.25.27 PM.png
Macy lives to serve and does a great job making me feel loved each and every day. Here she is, prompting me to keep reading!